By: Kate Theisen
Aviation is arguably one of the most evolving industries in the world. Catering to millions of consumers, industry leaders and hopeful players are constantly looking to change the landscape of the air to make it more efficient, safer, and greener than before. Here are some innovations that could become staples in the aviation industry in the coming future.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become all the rage lately. From selfies, delivering packages, and war machines, drones are changing air traffic. Concerns over threats to airports and airlines that occupy the same airspace are holding drone traffic back in the U.S. Conversations about drone usage and safety concerning UAVs, will clearly be a popular topic in the coming years.
Environmental impact is at the forefront of many airlines minds. Since air travel makes up between 4-9 percent of man-made greenhouse gases, many airlines and manufacturers are working to lessen their impact. Everything from biofuel to solar-powered flights are being explored. Although the progress in this area has been continuously improving, expect a lot more innovation in this area as pressures from consumers and regulations rise in order to protect the earth.
This is a relatively new phenomenon but one thing that we could see take off in the near future. A Virgin Galactic project that took shape in 2004 had a goal of offering commercial spaceflight. Although that hasn’t happened yet, air travel at the top of the ozone layer could be within reach. There are huge benefits for flying that high including unique gravitational forces and low drag, which would mean less fuel consumption and quicker travel between destinations. So, although commercial space travel may be further out, ultra-high flights will most likely be available first.
Many airports have started using biometrics to do security scans, and this technology could eliminate the need for boarding passes and having to take your passport out at every stop along the way. JetBlue is testing face-scanning technology on some of their international flights at the gate, which would eliminate the need to show your boarding pass and passport again. This technology uses data from the Customs and Border Protection and will take 5-7 seconds to process. This technology is already being used by US customs, and we can assume that airlines and airports will also take advantage of this technology as it continues to be developed. Whether that scares you or entices you, there may be no turning back now as technology advances.
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Aviation is ever changing, and is innovating around us. What do you think will be the next big thing in aviation? Leave us a comment below!